There are indications that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may call off the their lingering strike on Thursday.
Barring a last-minute change, the National Executive Committee of ASUU will meet on Wednesday night to consider the position of the congresses of the over 50 public universities regarding the offer made by the FG to revamp the institutions.
ASUU and the FG presided by Goodluck Jonathan met last Tuesday (started on Monday) in Abuja.
Then ASUU leaders briefed the zonal coordinators on the offer and ordered the local branches to organize congress meetings.
This step is to enable all the lecturers to be involved into the action the union would take after its NEC meeting on Thursday.
However, feelers from most universities that had organised their congresses revealed that ASUU would suspend the strike after the Thursday NEC meeting.
In some universities, the congress meetings will be held today.
However, there is no official information regarding whether the strike will be called off or not after the NEC meeting.
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Adesola, said,
“Yes, the NEC will hold on Wednesday evening but ASUU has a process which we are going to follow. NEC reserves the right to call off the strike after due consultation with members and this is why congresses are being called in all the chapters of the union.”
Another source disclosed that some members had expressed mixed feelings about the Federal Government’s new offer based on its refusal to honour past agreements.
A top official of the union, who confirmed the fears, told one of the journalists that although members’ opinions at the zonal congresses were divided over the government’s offer, the majority still decided to give the government the benefit of the doubt.
He also said that the majority opinion was that the review of the agreement which was supposed to hold this year should be postponed till next year in the interest of peace.
The official added that members were persuaded because President Goodluck Jonathan personally met with the union. They felt since the President was involved in the discussions, the government would not say that it was arm-twisted to make the offer.
One of the sources at the meeting between the government and ASUU revealed that the government after a long debate had agreed to inject N220bn yearly for the next five years starting from 2014.
According to this information provided from this source, Jonathan showed he was serious about ending the strike, both parties were frank during the longs-lasting discussions and demonstrated their commitment to the matter.
It was also added,
“The money will be released on a yearly basis at N220bn per annum beginning from 2014. For the outgoing year, the Federal Government will only release N100bn and this has been processed.
What is more, the National Universities Commission and the Trade Union Congress are to become joint guarantors of the new agreement while the Minister of Education will act as the implementation officer.
The source also stated that the government had agreed to revamp the public universities by ensuring that all the issues that always lead to strike were dealt with once and for all.
Source: Punch Nigeria